Church of England ‘institutionally racist,’ says head

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Church’s ruling body votes to appoint independent expert to assess situation of ethnic minorities in Church.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said Wednesday he is ashamed the Church of England is still institutionally racist.

Welby made his comments at the General Synod, the church’s ruling body.

Church members voted to back a motion apologizing for the Church’s racism since the arrival of the Windrush generation – citizens of the Commonwealth who arrived to Britain from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

Many ethnic minority Christians arriving in the U.K. were met with hostility from the Church at the time.

“Personally, I am sorry and ashamed. I’m ashamed of our history and I’m ashamed of our failure,” Welby told the General Synod.

“There is no doubt when we look at our own church that we are still deeply institutionally racist. Let’s just be clear about that. I said it to the College of Bishops a couple of years ago and it’s true.”

Welby called for the Church’s “hostile environment” to turn into a “hospitable, welcoming one.”

“Unless we are radical and decisive in this area in the future, we will still be having this conversation in 20 years’ time and still doing injustice – the few of us that remain, deservedly,” he said.

He urged more ethnic minority representation on the church’s panel. The General Synod voted to appoint an independent expert to assess the situation of ethnic minorities in the Church.

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